Antrim ladies beat Tyrone to claim their first ever Intermediate football title

Orlaith Prenter bagged 1-8 as Antrim beat Tyrone to win their maiden Ulster intermediate football title
Orlaith Prenter bagged 1-8 as Antrim beat Tyrone to win their maiden Ulster intermediate football title

TG4 Ulster Ladies' IFC final: Antrim 2-18 Tyrone 1-13

ANTRIM clinched a first-ever Ulster Intermediate Championship title with a deserved victory over Tyrone in Sunday's final at Owenbeg.

Orlaith Prenter hit 1-8, claiming the competition’s golden boot award as the Saffrons, who had only won their first-ever intermediate championship game against Monaghan in the group stages earlier this month, proved much too strong.

Tyrone, who won the dress rehearsal two weeks ago, opened the scoring through Maria Canavan in the second minute but Lara Dahunsi and Prenter (free) put Antrim into the lead with quick back-to-back points in the third minute.

In an open, attacking game, the defences on both sides were working hard with chances thwarted before the next score fell Antrim’s way and a turnover deep in the Saffrons defence saw Maria O’Neill get on the end of a point to put last year’s All-Ireland junior champions 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes.

Tyrone, though, gathered a bit of momentum and they hit three unanswered points through Grainne Rafferty, Canavan and Aoife McGahon to move 0-4 to 0-3 ahead and while Antrim had chances at the other end, they were guilty of two poor wides and some poor decision-making in their attacking lines that saw Tyrone overturn possession.

Prenter levelled the game for a second time in the 16th minute but McGahan nudged Tyrone back in front once more. Grainne McLaughlin, who replaced Bronagh Devlin in the starting line-up, looked to be in for a goal chance but the angle proved too tight and she had to settle for a point, which brought Antrim level once more, 0-5 apiece.

The final 10 minutes of the half, Antrim gained controlled, outscoring Tyrone four points to none. Prenter (free), player of the match award-winner Theresa Mellon and another two from Prenter, either side of McLaughlin rasping an effort back off the crossbar in the 29th minute, saw Antrim take in a deserved 0-10 to 0-6 half-time lead.

Antrim picked up where they left off after the resumption, taking their unanswered tally to 1-7, Mellon with a 34th minute goal that helped them stretch out their lead to 1-13 to 0-6.

Tyrone, to their credit, came back to within five points, hitting five in a row, to reduce it to 1-13 to 0-11 with 15 minutes remaining, Grainne Rafferty with three of those points.

Antrim at that stage were down to 14 players, midfielder Aine Tubridy sin-binned in the 45th minute but Prenter’s 47th-minute goal from the penalty spot, after she had been brought down by Caoimhe Magee, effectively ended Tyrone’s hopes of a comeback. Prenter (2), Dahunsi, Maria O’Neill and Dahunsi again brought Antrim’s tally to 2-18 while Aoife Horisk grabbed a late consolation goal for Tyrone, who can have no complaints about the result.

Antrim: A McCann; D Coleman, A Keenan, E Ferran; O Corr, C Brown, S O’Neill; A Mulholland, A Tubridy; T Mellon (1-2), C Carey (capt)(0-1), L Dahunsi (0-3); G McLaughlin (0-2), O Prenter (1-8, 1-0pen, 0-1f), M O’Neill (0-2)

Subs: G McLaughlin for Corr (40), C McKenna for Mellon (54), C Taggart for McLaughlin (58), L Agnew for M O’Neill (60)

Tyrone: S McVey; M Corrigan, C Magee, E Quinn; J Lyon’s, C Campbell, E Hegarty; EJ Gervinho, A McHugh (capt); A Horisk (1-1), G Rafferty (0-05, 0-2f), S Byrne (0-1); M Canavan (0-3), N Hughes, A McGahan (0-2)

Subs: S McCarroll (0-1) for J Lyons (35), E Loane for Canavan (28), N McElduff for Hegarty (52), J Barrett for Quinn (54)

Referee: Philip Conway (Armagh)